Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Governor-elect Terry McAuliffe’s acceptance speech

McAuliffe2_webMCAULIFFE: Over the past months, I’ve started speeches thanking a lot of political figures.

But I’m so glad that tonight the person introducing me is my best friend and my wife, Dorothy. Just a few weeks ago we celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary.

When we decided to do this campaign, we decided together because we understood that it was a journey we’d be taking together.

And Dorothy, I could not be happier to have you at my side.

And our five kids have been involved in this campaign from Day 1: Dori, Jack, Mary, Sally, and Peter.

All seven of us are so incredibly grateful to the most amazing volunteers and team leaders ever assembled on a Governor’s race. During this campaign, you knocked on over 2 million doors ­ a number that you still have to pause for a second just to comprehend.

The truth is that I got a lot of my energy from seeing you all work so hard. When I came to a canvass kickoff or phone bank and saw so many of you, it fired me up.  It kept me going 100% during 16 hour days.

I know you all gave up time with family because you believed this election was that important. Thank you so much and please give yourselves and enormous round of applause.

And thank you to my extraordinary campaign staff ­ particularly the field team who consistently set new records for Virginia politics.

And I want to thank the historic number of Republicans who crossed party lines to support me. You were powerful voices for our mainstream campaign. 

Most importantly, I want to thank the voters of Virginia for your support – from Lee County to Virginia Beach to Winchester. Thank you!

Look, I know this has been a very hard fought race. Part of that was the nature of politics and part of it was that the Attorney General and I had very big differences on a lot of issues. 

I think every single person in Virginia is glad the TV ads are over.

And I know passions are high but I think its important to recognize that while the Attorney General and I had a lot of differences, he is a principled man who has sacrificed an enormous amount during this campaign especially time with his family. I thank Ken Cuccinelli for his service and his dedication.

Virginia and America have seen contentious races before ­ and every time, we end up coming together to pursue the common good.

One particularly famous Virginian confronted a bitterly divided electorate after the Presidential election of 1800.

But instead of relishing his victory or governing only for his supporters, Thomas Jefferson devoted much of his first inaugural address to bridging partisan divides.

He said: “But every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle. We have called by different names brethren of the same principle.”

Two hundred and thirteen years later, the truth is that our differences of opinion are still often not a difference of principle or goal.

Over the next four years, most Democrats and Republicans want to make Virginia: 

·      A model for pragmatic leadership that is friendly to job creation.

·      A model for strong schools that prepare students for jobs of tomorrow.

·      A model for welcoming the best and the brightest scientists and innovators no matter your race, gender, religion or whom you love.

·      And a model for an efficient transportation system that reduces gridlock for families and business. 

But all of that is only possible if Virginia is also the model for bipartisan cooperation.  That’s a view that I share with the next Lieutenant Governor of Virginia Ralph Northam. And the next Attorney General of Virginia, Mark Herring!

While there are a lot of proud Democrats here, we’re all particularly proud to welcome the Republicans who joined us tonight.

The truth is that this election was never a choice between Democrats and Republicans ­ it was a choice about whether Virginia would continue the mainstream, bipartisan tradition that has served us so well over the past decade.

At a time when Washington was often broken, just think about what Virginia has accomplished by working together:

Under Governor Mark Warner, we preserved our Triple-A bond rating and made the single largest investment in K-12 education in Virginia history.

Under Governor Tim Kaine, we were honored as the “Best Managed State” and “the Best State to Do Business” as he prudently guided Virginia through the Great Recession.

Under Governor Bob McDonnell, our unemployment is one of the lowest on the East Coast and we passed the first transportation funding compromise in 27 years with bipartisan support­ an accomplishment that simply cannot be overstated.

Now, during the next four years, it will be my obligation and honor to continue that tradition.  And to get started, over the next three months, I am going to work hard to reach out to every Republican in the General Assembly. I want to listen and work with them to advance our shared goals.

The economic challenges facing Virginia are daunting: Sequestration for another year and even more federal budget cuts on the horizon.

But for those of you who know me well, I believe that a daunting challenge is always a great opportunity.

Working together, we will protect the jobs we have but also diversify our economy.

First, is workforce training. For me, the best part of this campaign was visiting all 23 community colleges. You meet people of all ages who are gaining new skills for a new economy ­ and finding opportunity that simply wouldn’t exist otherwise.   

They are our true engines of workforce development but we’ve reduced funding and created unnecessary red tape for local colleges.

Second, the passage of the funding bill is only the first step in addressing the critical transportation problems we face in Virginia. Over the next four years, we have to prove to taxpayers that we can spend their money effectively and efficiently to reduce congestion and create economic activity.

And, in the coming months we face a critical moment on Medicaid expansion.
It was perhaps the clearest issue that voters had a choice on during this election. 

But, again it wasn’t really a partisan choice. Instead, a bipartisan coalition of Democrats and Republicans, business groups and hospitals have said that we need to accept the Medicaid expansion­ to bring Virginia’s taxpayer money back to Virginia.

Throughout this campaign, I have listened to the concerns of Republican friends; that’s why I am committed to finding consensus on how to both reform and expand Medicaid.

And whether its education, transportation or healthcare, it is absolutely critical that we move forward in a way that is fiscally responsible. Virginia has a national reputation for strong fiscal management and that’s something I’m deeply committed to sustaining.

Finally, I wanted to say something specifically to the hundreds of thousands of Virginians who supported my opponents. And thousands of you didn’t just vote ­- you volunteered for Mr. Cuccinelli or Mr. Sarvis. I’ve been involved in a lot of campaigns that didn’t succeed ­ including when I ran for Governor in 2009.

I understand emotions are raw. I’ve been there. I get it.

So while I promise you tonight that I will be Governor for all Virginians, the real test is my actions when I take office. I expect you to hold me to my pledge to work with both sides.

And I hope that once we have started to make bipartisan progress on critical issues like jobs and education, that I can earn your trust.

Virginia ­ thank you for the honor of electing me to serve as your 72nd governor.

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Election 2013, Elections, Politics, State Politics

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